Little ones are highly attuned to repetition. The familiarity is comforting in this big new world, and that includes getting ready to catch some Zs. Following a bedtime routine will help your babe wind down and let her know that it’s time for shuteye. Try these tips to get started …
The first few weeks, your newbie will sleep in two- or three-hour intervals. She’ll need to wake up often to fill her tiny tummy, so there’s no reason to start a routine right away. Give yourself some time to learn her sleep cues and pick up on her natural napping patterns.
Try it out
Once you are ready to begin, test the water by incorporating a few relaxing rituals about 30 minutes before you actually want to tuck her in for the night. What calms some babes (for example, bathtime) might excite others, so this will be a trial-and-error process until you find what works for her. Some popular picks include dimming the lights, rocking together, giving a gentle infant massage, reading storybooks, singing lullabies, snuggling up while feeding, taking a bath, and saying goodnight to favorite toys or people in photos. (For daytime naps, incorporate just one or two parts of the bedtime routine, like a story and song, instead of going through every last step.)
Lay me down
Aim to place your baby in the crib (on her back) while she’s still nodding off. She should be drowsy but not completely asleep. This will teach her to drift off on her own and not always in mama’s arms. It could also help her learn to self-soothe early on, so she can fall back to sleep if she wakes in the middle of the night.